If you haven’t watched a single episode of FOX’s new hit show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I can’t really say I’m surprised. Its two wins at this years Golden Globes (one for Best Comedy and a Best Actor award for star Andy Samberg) shocked a lot of people, most of whom were expecting a win for The Big Bang Theory or hoping for Parks and Recreation. Personally, I was ecstatic when it got nominated, but never expected it to beat Modern Family. Regardless of the circumstances, the show’s win got a lot of people talking, but not as many watching; up until this week’s finale the show had been up against NBC’s The Voice, which wins in the ratings nearly every week. Brooklyn Nine-Nine may not have finished off its first season with a top audience, but it’s about to, so trust me when I tell you to put this show on your watch list.
I got into Brooklyn Nine-Nine solely for Andy Samberg. Some people complain about his ridiculous comedic style (including Seth Meyers), but ever since I watched my first episode of Saturday Night Live and saw Samberg rapping “Lazy Sunday,” I’ve been a fan. Though I truthfully wasn’t a fan of the “cop show comedy” genre and wondered how episodes and plot lines would really be structured, I figured if Samberg was starring it would have to be good. (Sidenote: Major thanks to FOX for giving Andy Samberg and Mindy Kaling their own shows after they left their respective roles at NBC. I really appreciate it.) The first episode probably won’t be on any of my future lists of outstanding Pilots, but once I stuck with it, the comedy absolutely became my favorite new show of the Fall 2013 season.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine manages to balance the interoffice relationships and cop plots excellently. Each episode is devoted to strengthening character friendships while giving a relatively substantial look at humorous cases presented to a NYPD squad. If you’re into cop shows, the 99 Precinct is thankfully not full of a bunch of bumbling idiots; there are always a couple of ridiculous secondary characters (specifically Detectives Scully and Hitchcock), but overall there aren’t too many cringe-worthy professional moments reminiscent of The Office‘s Michael Scott. And the show makes me laugh out loud each episode, with subtle in-jokes, recurring gags and absurd one-liners. The cast is awesome, from the serious Captain played by Andre Braugher to Chelsea Peretti’s confident and weird office administrator Gina, and I’m almost in awe at how the ensemble nails it week after week.
The most refreshing thing about Brooklyn Nine-Nine is its diversity, as well as an almost complete avoidance of classic TV tropes. From the get-go, you’re assuming Samberg’s obnoxious Jake Peralta and Melissa Fumero’s overachieving Amy Santiago are going to be the next Jim and Pam (I can’t be the only one who watches a Pilot and picks out the characters who will have romantic plot lines later on), but we actually get to see them grow as friends before any sort of romance is brought up. The “nice guy gets the girl” role is crushed when Stephanie Beatriz’s Rosa refuses to date Jo Lo Truglio’s pining Charles, and Amy, Rosa and Gina are actually friends, and aren’t in constant petty competition with each other. Terry Crews plays the classic tough, African American sergeant, but with a sweet side for his family and colleagues. And the serious Captain Ray Holt gets a thoughtful background as an African American gay man who experienced prejudice for his sexuality and race in his early years and worked his way to the top of the NYPD. You don’t see characters like these in your everyday sitcom, and the acting and writing that brings them to the screen is fantastic.
I can’t bring an entire season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine justice. With a new season starting in September and 22 hilarious episodes just waiting for you to watch them online, take this time to binge-watch your way through TV’s freshest and funniest new show. You’ll be creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur’s biggest fans in a week.